I went vegetarian and alcohol free on Friday 31st January, mainly by accident. Captain Caveman was off in to Son Doong on his first tour of the decade so I went over to see him off from Ho Khanh’s. Back home I had a snickers and some raisins as a mid-morning snack – the Shop and Go here sells boxes of raisins for 53,000vnd which isn’t bad, the western chocolate bars are 25,000vnd and you sometimes get free bananas. For lunch I met friends at Little Vietnam where I had a massive portion of veggie fried rice, which I couldn’t finish but was less than 50,000vnd.
That night I ate at Veggie box, by myself, where I had vegan soup with mint tea and loads of water then went home to watch Netflix and eat crisps. I’d started watching The Stranger which was really good.
The weather forecast didn’t look too promising on Saturday 1st February however, as is usual, it wasn’t accurate. I didn’t bother with breakfast as I was still feeling under the weather (despite managing almost 5 hours sleep) but for lunch I had a really good time eating at Funny Monkeys with the lads, sat outside overlooking the river. My pork fried rice was very tasty and just the right sized portion, the tofu in tomato sauce looked good but was a bit on the small side. All but two of us at the table had agreed on a challenge of no alcohol or meat for the whole month – it would be termed Dry Veguary!
Josh and I ate dinner at Veggie Box (again) where we shared the stuffed tofu with orange sauce and the veggie taste with rice, neither of us had any alcohol and the food was really tasty although wasn’t quick and it was disappointing to see that the eggplant and rice takeaway we ordered was packaged in polystyrene containers and a plastic bag.
At Momma D’s I had a marmalade martini which was really well made by the bartender, but as only I was drinking we didn’t stay long and I was in bed early that evening.
I’d been invited to a wedding on Sunday 2nd February which I planned to go to however I was unable to drink beer (because of the gluten) I didn’t fancy the rice wine (because of my cough) and I was trying my best to avoid smokers (pretty hard to do here). My cold had gone but my cough was still there and so I was trying to be as healthy as possible to fight it off, I really didn’t want to spread it either. I was also expecting a visit from Katie, who was on a whistle stop tour of Vietnam and would have just one night in Phong Nha. In the morning I went over to Ho Khanh’s with my gluten free cornflakes and had those with a ginger tea for breakfast.
At lunchtime Josh and I went to Yummy’s for the special menu which we had as a veggie option and had soft drinks with it – there was loads and it tasted delicious. During the afternoon I tried to sleep a bit more in an effort to get well before meeting my cousin. Josh and I chose to eat dinner at Nguyen Shack, I had a pork and eggplant dish which I had never tried before so I gave that a go – it was incredibly garlicky but tasty and Josh had a massive portion of veggie fried rice. The food was good value and the staff were attentive and friendly, we both said we’d go again. We went up to Momma D’s after where I said I’d meet Tatas who was back from her 4 day trip and I had also arranged to meet my cousin, Katie. It was so good to see her, she looked well, was happy and we had a couple of drinks including the free bellini shots. We facetimed our relatives together and made a huge amount of noise in front of the other customers at the rooftop bar but we didn’t care. We got some photos and had a good old laugh before it was time to leave. Josh and Tatas came with me to walk Katie to Saigon Phong Nha hotel, where she was staying, and we said our goodbyes. Her next part of the tour was to see the show caves (Paradise and Phong Nha) the next day and then they were leaving for Hanoi.